Economic assistance programme to end on Tuesday

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Greece Economic assistance programme to end on Tuesday

The economic assistance programme for Greece will not be extended. After the Eurogroup decision, Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble reported that the Greek government had broken off negotiations.

3 min reading time

epa04812151 A photo taken on 20 June 2015 and made available on 21 June shows a Greek (L) and a European (R) flag waving under the statues of ancient greek gods on the rooftop of a building in central Athens, Greece. An emergency summit of eurozone …

Greek debt crisis - What will happen now?

Photo: picture alliance /dpa/Simela Pantzartzi

"We have made an enormous effort and have weighed up various different points of view," said Wolfgang Schäuble on Saturday evening on the German television channel ZDF. "For a government simply to stand up and leave the negotiating table is not only confusing, it is depressing," he said, summing up his personal impressions. Earlier, following the meeting in Brussels, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem had reported that "the programme will end on Tuesday evening". The Greek government, he said, had broken off the negotiating process. It has also called a referendum and will be advising voters to vote "No".

Wolfgang Schäuble also declared, "Tuesday evening is Tuesday evening". This cannot come as a surprise to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Wolfgang Schäuble is sceptical about the Greek referendum called for 5 July. There was no point in delaying a decision in the Eurogroup he said, since the Greek government will recommend that voters reject the European proposal.

"Euro will remain a hard currency", says Wolfgang Schäuble

That makes it all the more important to make it quite clear "that the euro zone is stable". The euro enjoys international trust; we have overcome the lack of trust. In the interview Wolfgang Schäuble said, "The euro will remain as hard, or become even harder than it already is." That is why the Eurogroup finance ministers, without the Greek finance minister, consulted on Saturday evening with representatives of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund. There are "no incalculable risks" for the German budget said Wolfgang Schäuble.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier says, "Greek government has vacillated"

In the German Sunday paper "Welt am Sonntag" Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke of how "the Greek government had vacillated in the last days and hours" in a way that is "beyond comprehension". He simply cannot understand how an elected Greek government can recommend that its electorate reject the European proposal "and thus use the Greek people as hostages in an effort to wring further concessions out of Europe. We cannot do the Greek government’s work for it," said Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Speaking on the German television channel ARD on Sunday evening, he declared himself "pretty speechless" in the face of the actions of the Greek government.

The Chancellor’s efforts

On Monday morning Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet at the Federal Chancellery with the heads of all parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag to inform them of the latest developments in conjunction with Greece. The press is to be informed following the meeting.

Before negotiations were broken off the Chancellor had strongly urged all sides to find a negotiated solution. After the first day of the European Council meeting she said on Friday morning, "The political will of the heads of state and government around the table – also with a view to Greece – was unmistakable." It is not a question of "new cash", however, but of agreeing on a second assistance programme for Greece, said Angela Merkel. The Chancellor reaffirmed that the heads of state and government do not intend to intervene in the negotiations. "It is up to the finance ministers, and especially the three institutions," she said at the start of the consultations.

A package of reform and spending cuts is the precondition for any second economic assistance programme for Greece and for the disbursement of the last instalment of 7.2 billion euros. The Eurogroup must give the go-ahead before the Greek parliament and subsequently the German parliament can vote on the deal. If no deal is reached the 7.2 billion euros will for forfeited on Tuesday.

The basis for decisions is an agreement between Greece and the three institutions on reform proposals. If, after due consideration of the Greek proposals, the representatives of the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission deem them to be adequate, they will make a pertinent recommendation to the Eurogroup. The Eurogroup finance ministers can then examine the viability of Greece’s plans and make a decision.